Timothy Walters Kleinert
I spoke with my doctor friend briefly the other night. They conceded that yes, it's possible for the fascia to contract, but it doesn't normally. They said it was one of those situations where doctors don't understand why it would ever need to contract.
Well, this is why it was so startling to me to realize that "the leather man," or the whole system of fascia was the central idea in these discussions. I've had some experiences there that immediately made me see vast potential in using that system.
However, I think we have to look elsewhere than muscles or "muscle-like" contractions or relaxing to see the potential for martial application in the fascia.
If someone said, "You have to use your eyes in a fight," you wouldn't think of contracting them or hitting with them. So think of a system that is radically different from the muscle system: how would you use that to support a fighting situation?
Recognizing that the discussions were about how to employ the very unique system of the fascia was what excited me so much. The fascia could even be called the ura
of the muscles--the muscles being the omote
of human strength.
First of all, the fascia is very sensitive. Think of sliding into a tub of hot water--the rush of tingling warmth that spreads throughout your body. That sensation spreads through the fascia, I believe.
In my Zero Degree
teaching, I grab a student's wrist and ask if they can feel it in their foot. At first, they don't notice it, but usually, on the second try and thereafter, they notice it. The fascia has the capacity for full-body awareness--almost instant awareness throughout the body of something that happens elsewhere on the body.
The fascia thus can conduct the ki of the body pretty much instantly from one part of the body to another to focus there.
So I can see that using that system has the potential to augment fighting skills incredibly, but we have to think of it in a way radically different from the way we use muscles.
I remember Dan's recent post about how, having worked so much on his own structure, he could "feel" another person's structure "on contact". He could "feel" "the holes" in their structure and lead their movement to "fall into" one of those "holes".
Well, anyone with a good bit of aikido can do that with movement, but Dan was talking about doing this with almost no movement at all. Now I think I understand "conceptually" what he's talking about. So I would begin thinking about this idea as a matter of improving one's own awareness to improve body structure and maintain that structure with movement. Then it improves sensitivity to the other person's movement and structure (in an almost backward order--or a mirror image) so that someone like Dan can "lead" that movement in such a way that the other person compromises his own structure as he applies effort.
Dan has indicated something about the kinds of exercises he uses to develop these skills, but I think we can do more to approach him by immediately getting rid of the idea that we are trying to "flex" the fascia or use it like muscles (Dan's last post notwithstanding--there is a direct relation between the muscles and fascia, but it seems that the full fascial system works with very different potentials.).
Best to all.